Pauline Millar publishes her latest book
by Sue Gallant
Did you hear the story about the mother and baby who fell through the ice on Trout River in about 1827? The mother's body was recovered, but the baby was not seen again until the body drifted ashore in Lot 12 the following summer. The drowned woman, Mrs. Robert Downing, had been attempting to visit her mother who lived on the opposite side of the bay. Earlier, upon his return home from work as a school teacher, Mr. Downing had warned the ice was not safe to cross and had offered to take his wife by road the next day. Mr. Downing then left for a medical appointment. While he was out, Mrs. Downing's step father dropped by and during the course of conversation declared the ice perfectly safe. The rest as they say, is history. The unfortunate Mrs Downing, who had two older girls beside the baby who died, lived on property now owned by Island author and senior, Pauline Millar. Millar unearthed Mrs. Downing's little known story while researching her new book, Roots and Branches. The book is a fascinating attempt to record information of interest in the Bideford area from earlier times to the present day.
Millar is a life long resident of the Bideford area, she was born in Northam. In 1972 Millar researched and recorded a history of Bideford as a Women's Institute project. In 1983 she researched and wrote the history of the Daniel Green family for a book entitled An Island Refuge, published by the Abegweit Branch of the United Empire Loyalist Association of Canada. Millar's next literary achievement was to compile a history of the Stewart Memorial Hospital Auxiliary, published in 2000.
Millar has been writing from an early age. "When I was growing up my mother used to prophesize that I might write a book some day," Millar told The Buzz. "I loved to write and kept a diary. I was the youngest of four and when the others were away I would write long letters to them." Millar hopes her latest contribution to the literary world will be of interest to future generations.
"It's been a pleasure to get all this (information) assembled and put together finally, and to have it available for other people to read," said Millar. "I would not have been able to do it myself without the help of my family. They helped with the research, proof reading, etc." Roots and Branches is available from various retail outlets in the Bideford region.
The book is 132 pages long, contains approximately 40 photographs, and is priced at $20 including taxes. All profits from the sale of the book will go to support the Bideford Parsonage Museum.